Trade

Thursday's Hangout With Steven Mnuchin and Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Global elitism, FISA, a possible stock market dive pepper White House day

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly waits to speak in October as press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during a press briefing. Kelly is leading White House efforts to strike an immigration deal. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A Treasury secretary says the Davos gathering of global elites isn’t a hangout for global elites. A press secretary says tweets that seemed to contradict each other didn’t contradict each other. A president predicts a stock market dive if he doesn’t get his way. In other words: Thursday at the White House.

Among the business-as-usual moments were White House officials blaming Democrats for delays on immigration and government-funding measures, even while the White House chief of staff was trying to close the deal, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announcing that taxpayers should see bigger paychecks next month — as long as new withholding tables the IRS is circulating work like they are designed to. 

Opinion: The Women Who Could Take Back the House for Democrats
Trump presidency a catalyst for action

Pediatrician Mai Khanh Tran is vying to replace Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., who is not seeking re-election. (Courtesy Dr. Tran for Congress)

In a typical election cycle, EMILY’S List hears from 900 or so women who are interested in running for political office. As of this week, less than a year after President Donald Trump took office, more than 25,000 women have reached out to the group, whose goal is to help elect pro-choice Democratic women to office.

That unprecedented number tracks with what I’ve seen covering special elections for the House and Senate in 2017. Particularly in Alabama and Georgia, I kept seeing female voters showing up in huge numbers to work for Democratic candidates, even when the women themselves weren’t Democrats, or had never been particularly political at all.

U.S. Chamber Will ‘Double Down’ on 2018 Campaigns, Donohue Says
Infrastructure will be a top priority

Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue pledged to “double down” on the group’s multimillion-dollar political efforts this year while also pushing for overhauls in Congress of immigration, infrastructure and entitlement programs.

Donohue said the chamber would invest more money and time on primary elections ahead of the 2018 midterm elections with the goal of restoring more power to the political “middle” while still aiming to keep Republicans in control of the House and Senate. 

Experts, Industry Push Back on Health Insurance Proposal
Trump administation wants to loosen ERISA regulations

Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said a proposed rule change would help Americans who don’t have access employee-sponsored health insurance. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Industry groups and policy experts are questioning a Trump administration proposal on health insurance even as it garners accolades from congressional Republicans. 

The proposed rule, announced on Thursday, would loosen regulations under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, that govern association health plans. Such plans allow businesses to band together in purchasing health insurance. Supporters say the rule is intended to help consumers hit the hardest by rising premiums under the 2010 health care law.

Trump Heads Down to the Farm (Bureau)
Address to convention will be first by a U.S. president since George H.W. Bush

President Donald Trump will address the American Farm Bureau Federation national convention on Monday. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump addresses the American Farm Bureau Federation’s national convention on Monday — the first president to attend since George H.W. Bush in 1992.

The president will discuss key points of an administration report the White House says is designed to boost the rural economy.

Trump Defends Mental State, Makes DACA-for-Wall Pitch
President also appears willing to talk to Kim Jong Un

President Donald Trump had a few things to say about “Fire and Fury” and its author at an impromptu press conference Saturday. The book is highly critical of Trump’s presidency. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump, during a remarkable impromptu press conference, defended his mental fitness and declared himself willing to hold direct negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He also dug in on his demand that any immigration bill include funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Trump took questions at Camp David following a strategy session with GOP lawmakers, Cabinet officials and White House aides. He again denied he or his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia. While the president did not flatly deny dispatching aides to try stopping Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Justice Department’s Russia probe, Trump contended he did nothing illicit.

It’s Not Just Romney: Hatch Retirement Could Lead to Decisions for Grassley, Crapo
Judiciary chairman appears to have time left as leader of Finance panel

Sens Charles E. Grassley and Orrin G. Hatch have served alongside each other at the Finance and Judiciary committees. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When GOP Sen. Orrin G. Hatch announced Tuesday that he will retire from the Senate after serving Utah for more than four decades, talk quickly turned to whether Mitt Romney will seek to succeed him.

But on Capitol Hill, the pending departure of the Finance Committee chairman — who could have wielded the tax writing gavel for two more years under conference rules — also raises questions about which senator will lead the GOP on taxes, trade, health care and entitlements.

Bill Shuster Won’t Run for Re-Election in 2018
Pennsylvania Republican term-limited as Transportation Committee chairman

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster will not seek re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:30 p.m. | Pennsylvania Rep. Bill Shuster, who is term-limited as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, will not seek a ninth full term in 2018, leaving behind a safe Republican seat. 

“Rather than focusing on a re-election campaign, I thought it wiser to spend my last year as Chairman focusing 100% on working with President Trump and my Republican and Democratic colleagues in both Chambers to pass a much needed infrastructure bill to rebuild America,” the GOP lawmaker said in a statement Tuesday. 

What Former Congresswomen Learned From Running
Edwards: ‘Women have to stop waiting to be asked and just step up and do it’

Left to right, Nydia Velazquez, Eva Clayton, Carolyn Maloney and Barbara Kennelly are seen at a reception for new women members at freshman orientation in 1992. (Laura Patterson/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Since Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and election, there has been a major push to get more women to run for Congress. And it’s paid off — the number of women who have filed for or are planning to run for office is at an all-time high, according to a study from Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics.

Some women who served in Congress want those political hopefuls to know exactly what they’re in for.

Businesses Say Foreign Payment Treatment May Breach Treaties
Provisions in House and Senate tax bills draw pushback

Ohio Rep. James B. Renacci says issues with the provisions in question must be resolved in conference negotiations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Business advocates are warning that provisions in the House and Senate tax bills aimed at discouraging offshore migration of multinational operations could trigger trade disputes and retaliation by trading partners because they conflict with tax treaties.

The Semiconductor Industry Association, representing big chipmakers such as Intel Corp., Texas Instruments Inc. and Qualcomm Inc., told Republican leaders in a Dec. 5 letter that it has trade-related concerns about two House and Senate proposals that target multinationals’ payments to foreign affiliates, including payments for parts and other goods used in manufacturing, royalties, interest and management fees.